It is Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, 13 – 19 November 2023
15 Nov 2023
Having Cervical Screening Tests every 5 years is the best way to protect yourself from cervical cancer.
This year, the theme is “Your test, your choice”
- More than 70% of Australians who have cervical cancer have never screened or have not had the screening test regularly.
- Some women and people with a cervix, have not screened regularly because of worry about the test, or bad past experiences.
To help women do the Cervical Screening Test, there are now 2 choices. One choice is to have a doctor or nurse collect your sample. The other choice is to collect your own sample in a health clinic.
Who needs to take the test?
- If you’re a woman or person with a cervix, aged 25-74, and have ever had sexual contact, you should do cervical screening every 5 years.
- You still need to screen even if you:
- have had the HPV vaccination
- have had a baby
- have been through menopause
- are lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer or transgender and have a cervix
- haven’t been sexually active for a long time or have only been with one partner
- have had traditional cutting or circumcision
How does self-collect work?
- The Cervical Screening Test checks for HPV in the vagina. HPV is a common virus that causes almost all cervical cancers.
- If you decide collecting your own sample is the best option for you make an appointment with a GP, or at a Family Planning clinic, and a doctor or nurse will give you a swab, clear instructions, and a private place in the clinic.
- Self-collection is simple. It involves putting a swab a few centimetres into your vagina and (like a COVID swab) rotating it for 20-30 seconds to collect the sample. Give the swab to the doctor or nurse to send away for testing.
- If you have difficulty doing this, or change your mind about doing it, you can still ask the doctor or nurse to collect your sample.
If you’re due, book your Cervical Screening Test with your GP or Family Planning today!
For more information visit https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/national-cervical-screening-program or phone 1800 627 701. Call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50 to get help in your language.